Sunday December 3, 2023

Why Would Juan Soto Turn Down a $350M Extension?

  • The contract would be the third-most lucrative in MLB by total value.
  • But the $26.9M average annual value would rank only 17th.
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports/Design: John Regula
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Juan Soto turned down a 13-year, $350 million contract with the Nationals prior to the MLB lockout.

Given his sky-high potential, even the third-highest total contract in baseball would be nowhere near what he’s worth — and super-agent Scott Boras knows it. In terms of AAV, Soto would only rank 17th ($26.9M).

If the 23-year-old can keep up his tremendous production, he could command the first $500 million contract in MLB history when he’s a free agent in 2024.

  • Soto is the sixth player in MLB history to finish second in both Rookie of the Year (2018) and MVP (2021) voting.
  • During the shortened 2020 season, he led the majors in batting average (.351) and OPS (1.185).
  • His career position-player WAR (17.6) is the highest of anyone who has been in the league for four seasons or fewer — including Ronald Acuna Jr. (14.9) and Fernando Tatis Jr. (13.6).

Tatis set the market for young superstars with the 14-year, $340 million deal he signed last offseason — likely a bargain for the Padres in the long run. Acuna, meanwhile, got “only” an eight-year, $100 million contract from the Braves after winning the 2018 ROY.

Assuming there is a 2022 season, Soto can increase his leverage by winning National League MVP — he’s currently the co-favorite with Tatis (both +350*).

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